First International Partnership Workshop Held on International Credit Union Day

October 31, 2005

Claire Warner (Texas Credit Union League) and Sharon Bahr (Missouri Credit Union Association) work on multicultural business cases.

Twenty-seven individuals from 11 U.S. leagues involved in World Council of Credit Unions, Inc.'s (WOCCU) International Partnership Program participated in the first ever International Partnership workshop held October 20-21, in conjunction with International Credit Union Day.

The first day the representatives – from Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas – were able to highlight their partnership on Capitol Hill as they demonstrated constituent support for WOCCU's work and how credit unions put the "people helping people" philosophy to work internationally. Participants also enjoyed an International Credit Union Day reception at the Rayburn Building sponsored by CUNA and WOCCU.

The next day, the partnership workshop began. In the first of three sessions, WOCCU CEO Pete Crear and staff members Mark Cifuentes, Senior Manager, LAC and Martha Ninichuk, Technical Officer, Asia and Europe spoke to the group about WOCCU's approach to international credit union development and how International Partnerships help WOCCU's mission. In a second interactive session, Nancy Buchanan, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spoke about cross cultural business behavior: illustrating cultural differences and promoting understanding. To close the workshop, Kasey Rockwell, director of credit union advocacy for the Credit Union Association of Oregon and Kathy Chartier, president and CEO of Members Credit Union, Stanford Connecticut and the board chair of Connecticut Credit Union Association, led a feedback session on partnerships. Participants discussed how to convey partnership benefits to their constituents, how to make partnerships more inclusive, what works in the program, and what can be improved.

"It was remarkable to see people who share the enjoyment of making a difference through international credit union partnerships," said Victor Corro, WOCCU's International Partnerships manager. "The program has grown tremendously in 2005; these relationships are becoming very technical and close. The partners are truly committed to working together."

Also present for the workshop were representatives from CUNA and the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS).

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.

World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 89 countries. Worldwide, 68,882 credit unions in 109 countries serve 235 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at